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MONEY, MEDIA MANIPULATE FACTS ABOUT TORT REFORM

The film is now available on DVD and we still highly recommend it to everybody—especially those who might consider themselves in favor of tort reform efforts. As our colleagues said in their blog post, “Large corporations and politicians who receive their money manipulate the facts of certain so-called ‘frivolous lawsuits’ in order to gain public support for tort reform.”

One portion of the film touches on the average citizen’s relative unfamiliarity with what exactly the United States Chamber of Commerce really is. While some people mistakenly assume it is an agency of the United States government, it is in fact a lobbying group serving the interests of many businesses and trade associations—and no other lobbying group even comes close to what the Chamber spends every year. According to OpenSecrets.org, a database of campaign contributions and lobbying activity from the non-profit, nonpartisan Center for Responsible Politics, the Chamber of Commerce spent more than $785 million on lobbying from 1998-2011. That’s more than triple the amount spent by the next highest association, the American Medical Association (AMA).

The misinformation pumped out by groups such as the Chamber of Commerce feeds a misguided view that tort reform would eliminate “frivolous lawsuits” when, in fact, the proposed changes to the common law civil justice system would more effectively eliminate corporate accountability.

In addition to the victims of truck accidents, tort reform efforts would have other far-reaching implications for other personal injury lawsuits such as medical malpractice and product liability cases. We will discuss more of the issues surrounding tort reform throughout the week.

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